HP may not be a brand synonymous with gamers, but the company’s upcoming Reverb G2 VR headset could change everything. It was revealed back in May 2020, and is set to offer a higher resolution display than the likes of the Oculus Rift S and Vive Cosmos, redesigned controllers, improved tracking capabilities and, most importantly, it’s available to pre-order right now.
The actual release date isn’t set in stone just yet, but we know just about everything else there is to know about the HP Reverb G2, and here, we cover everything from release date rumours to specs and even minimum PC requirements.
When will the HP Reverb G2 be released?
While the HP Reverb G2 is official, the release date… isn’t. HP confirmed at launch that the upcoming VR headset would be available in Fall 2020, but it hasn’t provided a specific release date or even the month of release.
However, a UK retailer seems to suggest that the HP Reverb G2 will be released on 15 September 2020, and has been taking pre-orders since early July. It’s entirely possible that the date is simply a mid-September placeholder, but that’s still more information than we’ve got from HP itself.
While the initial pre-order batch sold out, System Active claims that all pre-orders from this point onward will be delivered at the end of September, as part of a second wave of units, seemingly doubling-down on the suggested initial mid-September launch.
Though the site claims to be the exclusive pre-order partner of HP UK for the new headset, HP states that the suggested release is an unofficial estimate. Even so, it’s as close to a release date beyond autumn 2020 that we’ve got.
How much will the HP Reverb G2 cost?
With such impressive specs on offer, it should come as no surprise that the HP Reverb G2 isn’t as budget-friendly as some would like. The upcoming headset costs £639 including delivery in the UK via System Active, while those in the US can head to Connection to pre-order the headset for $599.
That’s £240/$200 more expensive than the £399/$399 Oculus Rift S, so HP will have quite a challenge to convince consumers to spend more. That being said, it’s in-line with the HTC Vive Cosmos, and is a lot cheaper than the premium Valve Index while boasting a higher resolution than Valve and HTC’s options.
To get a better idea of the VR headsets available right now, take a look at our selection of the best VR headsets.
What’s new with the HP Reverb G2?
So, what is it that makes the HP Reverb G2 so exciting? Unlike previous Windows Mixed Reality headsets, the Reverb G2 has the ability to truly compete with gaming-focused headsets from the likes of Oculus and HTC while still serving its business customers.
Admittedly, Windows VR headsets were ahead of the curve when it came to inside-out tracking, offering the functionality back in 2017 when other headsets still used base station setups, but the headsets only featured two cameras. Oculus and HTC have since released inside-out headsets that sport four cameras, offering much larger tracking volume, and it seems HP agreed, including four cameras on the Reverb G2.
It’s the first WMR headset to make the jump from two to four cameras, but we imagine others will follow suit soon. HP claims that it provides 1.4x more movement capture compared to two-camera systems, allowing for a more immersive VR experience with fewer tracking issues.
The Reverb G2 offers a substantial controller redesign, bringing significant changes to the shape and button layout of the new WMR controllers.
While the original controllers had a thumbstick, trackpad, an application button, analogue trigger and a grip button, the new controllers look very similar to Oculus’ Touch controllers, complete with more face buttons and grip triggers, again allowing the Reverb G2 to directly compete with gaming-focused headsets on the market.
HP has confirmed that the new controllers will be compatible with older Windows Mixed Reality headsets, allowing existing WMR headset owners to upgrade the controllers without having to buy a new VR headset. The company has confirmed that it’ll ship the G2 controllers separately, but this may not happen until sometime after the launch of the headset.
The company is yet to confirm just how much these controllers cost when bought separately, but we’ll update this section when we know more.
Impressive display and improved optics
While the display hasn’t changed from the original Reverb, offering the same 2160 x 2160 per-eye, it’s more than you’ll get from the majority of VR headsets on the market – in fact, it’s almost double that of the Oculus Rift S. HP has improved the display tech though, offering better contrast, brightness and lower persistence than the original.
There are also new lenses on offer, designed in collaboration with Valve, that should dramatically improve the clarity of the headset. There’s still a 114-degree FoV on offer, but with more pixels per degree than competitors, it should offer noticeable improvements over the most popular options available right now.
New off-ear headphones
HP worked with Valve on the lenses for the Reverb G2, but it didn’t stop there – the company also worked with Valve on the headphones, adopting the popular ‘off-ear’ headphones of the Valve Index.
The headphones hover near to your ear instead of sitting on them, offering a more comfortable and immersive VR experience, and HP claims that it features the exact same amp and drivers as Valve’s headset. That’s great to hear, as many consider the Valve Index to be the king when it comes to built-in VR audio.
Improvements in design
And, of course, no upgrade would be complete without tweaks to the overall design of the headset. The Reverb G2 takes a leaf out of the competition’s book, offering a redesigned head-mount shape, softer padding and the introduction of a physical IPD adjustment.
The circular design of the original HMD has been replaced by an oval-shaped HMD, which HP claims is better shaped to the head, and the new padding that surrounds it is a lot thicker and wider than that of the original, helping better distribute the pressure around the eyes when wearing the headset.
Unlike the Valve Index, of which the Reverb G2 has taken many cues, HP’s new VR headset will retain the side-strap design for fitting and tightening the headset instead of the tightening dial system used by most competitors.
Thankfully, there’s also a physical IPD adjustment, allowing users to change the distance between the lenses from 60- to 68mm, and that’s something not available on the Oculus Rift S – much to the disappointment of fans, as it was a feature of the original. Instead, Oculus headsets use a digital IPD alternative, with less-than-desirable results.
There’s also a 6m-long cable that HP claims is thinner and lighter than the bulky tether of the first-gen headset, connecting to PC via DisplayPort and USB-C. If USB-C isn’t available, you’ve got the option of connecting the headset via standard power adapter, also included in the box.
HP Reverb G2 specs
Display: 2x 2.89in LCD
Resolution: 2160 x 2160 per-eye
Refresh rate: 90Hz
Tracking: Inside-out, using four cameras
Cable length: 6m
Connector: DisplayPort, USB-C, power adapter (optional)
Controllers: 2x removable AA batteries
HP Reverb G2 minimum PC requirements
The high resolution of the HP Reverb G2’s display means that you’ll need an incredibly powerful (and expensive) rig to get the most out of it – especially if you want to game – and that’s backed up by the system’s minimum requirements as listed on the Connection website. It’ll depend somewhat on what you’re doing, so AAA VR titles may need even more than what’s listed below:
Processor: Intel Core i5, i7, Intel Xeon E3-1240 v5, equivalent or better. AMD Ryzen 5 equivalent or better.
Memory: 8 GB RAM or more
Video out: DisplayPort 1.3
USB ports: 1x USB 3.0 Type C
Power: USB Type C with power delivery or included power adapter
Operating system: Windows 10 May 2019 update or later
Graphics: DX12 capable graphics
GPU: Nvidia GeForce GTX 1080, GTX 1080 Ti, RTX 2060 SUPER, RTX 2070, RTX 2070 SUPER, RTX 2080, RTX 2080 SUPER, 2080 Ti, AMD Radeon RX 5700, Radeon RX 5700 XT, Radeon 7
You might want to invest in a new gaming PC if you’ve got your heart set on the HP Reverb G2.